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Young Adult Fiction 2017 Staff Favorites

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There were so many great new books in YA this year that it was hard to pick a “best of.” What I present to you are some of my favorites, some I know you’ve heard about, and a list of notable titles I just haven’t been able to make my way through yet. Whatever flavor you take your YA fiction in, there’s something great for you that came out this year. A lot books covered major themes and issues dominating our current society, and they weren’t afraid to boldly speak their mind on hot topics. YA has been breaking ground in gender and social politics, raising awareness about mental illness, shined a light on police violence, addressed the ever-evolving “American family,” and still managed to take us to fantasy lands and heartbreaking realities. Even if some of these aren’t your usual picks, they’re worth your time. Now you know, so get reading!

The Hate U Give Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062498533
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Balzer + Bray - February 28th, 2017

I’d be remiss not to mention this highly popular and recently-banned book on our list.  The story follows a young girl who travels between her rich private school and her poor neighborhood.  Everything changes when she becomes the sole witness to a police officer shooting her best friend.  He turns out to be unarmed, but may be a drug dealer.  Thomas boldly addresses the Black Lives Matter Movement, police violence, and deals with issues of racism and truth.  The result is a timely novel that speaks to teens and adults.


We Are Okay Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525425892
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - February 14th, 2017

This is a book that depicts the complexities and depth of female friendships, those moments when lines blur, and how important the families we make can be.  Marin pulls away from everyone after the death of her grandfather, but can’t escape her former best friend Mabel (Are they still friends?  Were they “just friends”?) even when she determines to spend winter break at her new college alone.  It turns out that isolation may be the perfect backdrop to some much needed healing.  Filled with realistic and heartfelt conversation, LaCour depicts grief, haunting loss, and the friends shape our lives with beautiful detail.


Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons Series) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780399549731
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - August 29th, 2017

Strong women have been standing up everywhere this year, and the popularity of WONDER WOMAN the film was no surprise.  Contributing to this world of warrior women, DC decided to release relatable novelizations of their superstar heroes.  They did a great job.  Bardugo brings her best writing to the recently revamped Wonder Woman.  While it could be stale or niche, appealing only to comic fans, it isn’t.  Bardugo manages to avoid the pitfalls and portrays a truly Amazonian group of women along with a captivating and exciting plot.  Even if you don’t like comics, you can really get into this book.  A surprisingly fun and well written discovery this year.  


Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781250138903
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) - August 29th, 2017

Young politicos got their wish with this book, a book written specifically for them.  Whether you agree with his politics or not, Bernie wrote an accessible and appealing book for kids wanting to better grasp and change their political surroundings.


Turtles All the Way Down Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780525555360
Availability: Backordered
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - October 10th, 2017

People still love John Green, and he hasn’t seemed to let them down yet.  TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN has been a hot seller since it hit the ground.  In this latest release, Green shares his struggles with obsessive compulsive disorder via Aza, the main character in TURTLES, making this possibly his most revealing book ever.  Aza struggles with OCD, anxiety, and spiraling thoughts all while on the hunt for a mysterious billionaire.  It’s equal parts gut wrenching, entertaining, and filled with all the Green style dialogue his readers have come to love. 


The Ship Beyond Time Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062380784
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Greenwillow Books - February 28th, 2017

In this thrilling follow up to THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE, Heidi Heilig takes up back to the world of Nix and navigation.  With the right map in Nix’s hands, she can go not just anywhere – but to any time.  Now free to go where she will, it’s up to Nix to determine her future, her family, and what kind of life she really wants to lead.  A well researched, fast paced, and well written novel, I recommend this to adults as frequently as I do to teens.


All the Wind in the World Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781616206666
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Young Readers - October 10th, 2017

Mabry made the National Book Award Long List with this novel, an exciting feat considering it’s only her second young adult title.  In a sea of gritty teen stories, fantasy, and politically and socially driven narratives, Mabry wrote a western that leans more towards magical realism.  Unique, yet relatable harsh characters populate her sparse desert landscape, and it’s impossible to not be sucked into the world of The Real Marvelous.  (The ranch her main characters find themselves at work on.)  With surprising turns and beautiful tone and prose, this is one of our best reads of the year.


The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic Cover Image
By Leigh Bardugo, Sara Kipin (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250122520
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Imprint - September 26th, 2017

I know I’m putting her twice on my list, but darn is she good!  Travel back to the Grishaverse in this collection of beautifully illustrated stories.  Readers of her previous books, such as the Grisha Trilogy or SIX OF CROWS, will finally learn the tale of “the too clever fox” and other folk references established in her fantasy universe.  For new readers, it’s a wonderful introduction to the magical world of the Grisha.  Subverting standard clichés, Bardugo tells tales of strong women and unusual characters, always choosing the unexpected path.  Whether you like fairy tales or fantasy, this is a great read. 


The Arsonist Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780803740716
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dial Books - August 22nd, 2017

While this pick didn’t crack most of the big lists, it was a big hit here at Interabang.  Our YA Book Club has deemed it their favorite read by far this year.  Following two teens who seem to have nothing in common, this epistolary tale covers everything from (duh) arson to the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Each character’s voice is unique, but they are all connected by loss and self doubt.  It’s equal parts historical novel, exciting thriller (they hunt down an ex-stasi officer at one point), and touching teenage tale.


Other great releases of the year included:


Far from the Tree Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062330628
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperTeen - October 3rd, 2017

American Street Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062473042
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Balzer + Bray - February 14th, 2017

Genuine Fraud Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780385744775
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Delacorte Press - September 5th, 2017

Windfall Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780399559372
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Delacorte Press - May 2nd, 2017

This Is Really Happening Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780448493589
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Razorbill - April 25th, 2017

Little & Lion Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316349000
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - August 8th, 2017

City of Saints & Thieves Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780399547584
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - January 24th, 2017

Hope you’ve read some of these, and make sure to not miss out on those you haven’t read yet!  Happy New Year!